Health in the Year of the Tiger

Chinese New Year marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Winter is the season of the water element; fear is the emotion associated with the water element and winter.

Manage fear and anxiety by connecting to the earth and bringing grounding qi into daily life. Flow beyond 5elemnt2-croppedfear. Get outside and walk amongst trees, breathing deeply, leaving the ear buds at home. In the five element cycle, earth controls water.

Over activity, over use of stimulants, and lack of sleep depletes the kidney qi, which is associated with the water element. Move forward with gusto this yang tiger year, but also in a balanced way, including rest and sleep – and eating well. Rest and sleep are the best way to replenish the kidney qi. As we age, our kidney energy naturally declines. Take naps, ideally lying flat, to give the most energy back to your kidneys.

Foods that support the water element are bone broth, soups and stews, beef, chicken, eggs, seafood, and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, shiitake mushrooms, berries and walnuts.

Spring is associated with the wood element, the liver, and the emotion of anger and frustration.

Avoid letting your energy stagnate this spring, or frustration can build and one may become irritable and argumentative. Bottling up anger can contribute to physical ailments that are due to qi stagnation such as body pain, headaches, digestive issues, or menstrual/menopausal irregularities.

Movement, exercise and communication are ways to avoid stagnation of your liver qi. Early spring, when the sap starts to flow and the days start getting longer, is when the yang energy starts to rise. With this being a yang tiger year, we may be more prone to abundant yang rising up this spring, so keep an eye out for signs of stagnation, as mentioned above, as well as tiredness or moodiness that improves with exercise. In the 5 element cycle, metal controls wood. The lungs are the organ of the metal element and they are in charge of keeping your energy moving, while the liver qi helps your energy move smoothly. Breathing and getting your lungs working helps your liver qi.

Acupuncture can also be very helpful for unblocking the qi.

Foods that support the wood element are cooked greens such as kale, collards, mustard greens, spinach, and brassica family veggies such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. Other foods include beets, seaweed, chicken, beef, and pungent foods and spices such as onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander.

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